A new Visiongain report projects that spending in the carbon dioxide (CO2) enhanced oil recovery (EOR) market will total $5.305bn at the start of 2014.

This includes spending on geological studies connected to CO2 EOR, injection and production well drilling and reworking, pumping equipment, CO2 recycling facilities and CO2 distribution pipelines.

The new report, titled The Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) Market 2014-2024, also covers investment in technology to capture carbon from anthropogenic sources, something that Visiongain notes is increasingly becoming a major feeder to CO2 EOR projects.

Opportunity

The CO2 EOR market is a well established sector of the oil and gas industry in the US, with the first commercial projects dating back to the early 1970s.

The key enabler of this success has been the availability of a large volume of low cost naturally occurring CO2, which has been tapped in the US to provide a regular supply to EOR projects.

However, the US remains the only nation to have discovered naturally occurring CO2 sources, apart from natural gas collections with a high CO2 content. As maturing oil production markets provide more opportunity for CO2 use in EOR, the demand for CO2 has risen while supply volumes have not seen significant additions over the market’s more than 35-year history.

There has therefore been a growing interest in capturing some of the approximately 32 billion tonnes of CO2 released into the atmosphere globally from anthropogenic sources, and using this to boost production of oil from waning production areas. As Visiongain explains, this creates opportunities in many more countries outside of the US – where CO2 EOR markets have the potential to grow. The intensifying link with carbon capture technology will mean that areas advanced in this technology with significant maturing oil areas will prosper in the CO2 EOR market.

Carbon dioxide purchases are not included in the financial analysis of the new report. Due to the gas being such a major cost factor and the inconsistent pricing and supply of CO2 globally, Visiongain feels this would distort investment figures for new CO2 EOR projects.